Local History Notebook

Herkeld, (Hertekelde??), Hartkeld, Hartgyll

Location of an iron and coal mine in South Durham. Probably modern Hartgill Hill, near Howden-le-Wear.

A property called Smelt House, now Fir Tree Grange, is located in Howden-le-Wear. It was known as Smelt House as early as 1587 when Henry Jackson, yeoman, made his will leaving three farms to three sons. It seems probable that ore from Hartgill was smelted there in the 15th century - but the source of charcoal is unknown.

A list of knights from the county of Durham who were present at the battle of Lewes 1264 :
(from a document contained within the volume of Bishop Hatfield's Survey)

Knight Banneret - Sir Robert de Amondeville (demorant a) Wotton in Werdale
Knight Bachelor - Sir Henry de Merley (demorant a) Herkeld

Finchale Charters - Durham Cathedral Muniments: Finchalia

4.1.Finc.32   Christmas Sunday [26 December] 1311
Grant, for a sum, by John de Amundeville to Roger son of Roger son of Katherine of all his land in the field of Hertkeld towards the north, from the thorn on the west of the field to the dyke on the south, extending for the ploughland (arrura) of one plough, for digging an iron mine and coals if found, with free entry and exit.
Witnesses: Thomas de Bern..., ... Dode, William de le Riddings, Henry Curtays, Adam of Coquetdale, Richard de M..., ... multis aliis
Dated: Witton[-le-Wear]

Seal: Seal: Missing.Parchment    The first part of the date can be read as "M o CCC", and a word ending in o follows which appears to be "vndecimo"; Swalwell wrote "1311" on the dorse and his entry (4.1.Finc.90) in the Finchale Repertory repeats it. Christmas day fell on Saturday in 1311, so "die dominica in festum Natalis domini" presumably means Sunday in the Christmas season.
Why this document should be among the Finchale charters is not clear; it may represent an unrecovered deposit.

Bishop Hatfield's Survey (c1380) - Witton

Terrae Scaccarii. Radulphus de Euere miles ten. viij acr.  terra ibid., quondam died Thomae, red. p. a. ad iiij term, usual. 4b. 8d. Idem Radulphus ten. v acr. terrae, quondam Willelmi Berkar et dicti Thomae, red. p. a. ad e. t. 3s. 4d. Idem Radulphus ten. j placeam, voc. Hertkeld, quondam dicti Thomae, red. p. a. 6d. Idem Radulphus ten. xij acr. et j rod. terrae, quondam dicti Thomae, red. p. a. 6s. 2d. Idem Radulphus ten. xvij acr. terrae, quondam dicti Thomae, in Escombe, red. p. a. 5s. 8d. Idem Radulphus ten. j acr. in Bycheburne, quondam dicti Thomae, red. p. a. 6d. Idem Radulphus ten. iiij acr. terrae, quondam Nicholai de Aula, quondam dicti Thomae, red. p. a. 12d. Idem Radulphus ten. iiij perticatas terrae longitudinis fsicj, quondam dicti Thomae, red. p. a. Id. Idem Radulphus ten. j acr. terrae ibid., quondam dicti Thomae, red. p. a. 6d. Idem Radulphus ten. iiij acr. terrae ibid., quondam dicti Thomae, juxta Uttyng, red. p. a. 2s. Idem Radulphus ten. vij acr. terrae, quondam dicti Thomae, ex australi parte domus, red. p. a. 3s. 6d Idem Radulphus ten. dim. acr. et ij pecias terrae juxta Bedburn, red. p. a. 4d. Idem Radulphus ten. j placeam dicti Thomae ibid., red. p. a. ad e. t. Id. Idem Radulphus ten. j peciam terrae longitudinis xxiiij pedum et tantae latitudinis, red. p. a. 6d. Idem Radulphus ten. yj acr. terrae, quondam Robert! Berker et dicti Thomae, red. p. a. 4s. Idem Radulphus ten. terram, quondam Willelmi de Mowleswod, et postea dicti Thomae, red. p. a. 16d.*

 Sir Henry de Merley demorant a Herkeld (1264).

"... when working the mines of coal and iron ore in Raby, Caldhirst, Hertkeld, Hetherclogh, 'otherwise called Tollawe and Follawe, and in the Barony of Evenwod', granted to him by letters patent fot the term of twenty three years"
Thirty-fourth report of the Deputy Keeper of Public Records, p207

"Bishop Neville (Bishop of Durham 1438 - 1457) granted a lease to Sir William Eure, of all mines of coal and lead in Raby, Coldhurst, Hertkeld, Hetherclough, Follow and Wollow, in Evenwood, for twenty three years, at 112l. 13s. 4d. rent
The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham, Volume 3 p338 by William Hutchinson....

 calendared in the palatine records for 1416, which tell of the mines at Railey, Caldhurst, Hertkeld, Hetherlong, and Evenwood in south Durham already having been leased to his palatine steward, Ralph Eure, for the princely annual sum of  112l. 13s. 4d., a bargain agreed to sometime after 1409"
Fourteenth century England, Volume 4  By Nigel Saul, J. S. Hamilton p186

"A century later [than 1356] Sir William Eure leased some of the most important Durham coal mines, his daily output being restricted to 340 corves at Raly, 300 at Toftes, 600 at Hartkeld, and 20 at any other mines, with the right of making up from one mine any deficiency in another, and also if making up any deficiency caused by delays due to 'styth' or choke-damp, which seems to have been so troublesome in the hot-season as to cause a complete cessation of work. Under this lease Sir William obtained at Raly in one week of 1460 some 800 corves, each of 2 bushels, making rather over 40 chalders, paying 5d a day to each of the three hewers, the three barrowmen who brought the coal to the foot of the shaft, and the four drawers who raised and banked it. (VCH Durham ii 324)
English Industries of the Middle Ages, Being an Introduction to the Industrial History of Medieval England: Louis Francis Salzman 1964 / 2009 15.57

"... a lease granted by the Bishop, in 1478, of the "mine of sea coal" in "Rabey, Tofts, Caldhirst, Hertkeld, and Hetherclogh" manors in South Durham, to Sir William Eure for eleven years, at an annual rent of 150. All expences are to borne by Eure, who may, however, take timber and granite from the Bishop's land for the support of the pits. His output is limited to 31 tons per day at Raby, 27 tons at Tofts, 5 tons at Hertkeld, and not more than 2 additional tons at any other mines he may operate."
The Rise of the British Coal Industry, Volume 1  By John U. Nef

See also Galloway p73

Enrolment of Indenture whereby the Lord Bishop demised to him the coal mines of Raly, Calehirst, Toftes, and Hartgyll. for one year, at the rent of 150/. per annum. See Eure, Ralph To have seisin of the lands, 4c., of his late father. ...
Annual Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records , Volume 36

There is a Hargill Hill (grid reference 155 330), the site of old coal workings at Howden le Wear, 2km NW of Witton le Wear, but this would be in Bitchburn township rather than Witton.

"Witton-le-Wear Township comprises an area of 3168 acres, and its ratable value is 14,986. Under the Divided Parishes Act this township received Pit Close and Hargill Hill, two isolated pieces, containing 213 acres.